Here we go with Part 23. Thanks to everyone who has been writing. The last installment sure generated a lot of mail, can't figure out why :-) I really enjoy hearing from you.
One of the things that seems to be a tradition on here is for authors to mention some of their favorite stories... I have been an avid reader of quite a few: Forever (Back after a hiatus), Twist of Fate, Yellow, Just Together (Celebrity section but has N'Sync in it), Brian and Me , Jamie's Romance, My Surprise Romance, Lance in Shining Armour, Studio in the Country (Finally!!! another installment), Lucky Me, Not Meant to Be, Mile High Meeting, Model Romance, Beneath It All and the list goes on. My email address is email@example.com, if you feel inclined to write and let me know what you think or just want to chat.
Now on to the standard disclaimers. I doubt that anything I write will make any difference since if you found this little gathering place on the World Wide Web you're probably going to go ahead and read what's here no matter what anyone says. But here it goes anyway...
If you have a problem reading about guys who like other guys as something more than just friends, you need to go find some other place to poke around. If you are under the legal age to read erotic fiction where you live, you probably wouldn't get in trouble for reading this story, but you really don't belong here. And most importantly, many of the names mentioned in this story have been changed to protect the guilty (or is that supposed to be the innocent?). Under no circumstances will I disclose whether or not I actually know any of The Backstreet Boys or any other celebrity who may make an appearance. Nor do I believe in outing people, so I will not disclose any information about the true sexual orientation of anyone mentioned in this story.
Previously in the story of Nick and the Altos
Kevin led Nick out to the waiting limo, followed by Brian, AJ and Howie. Once they were inside, the driver took off for the airport. Nick was a wreck. He sat in the corner crying. Brian reached into Nick's pocket and pulled out his cell phone and hit the speed dial for Mikey's phone. It rang several times and went to voice mail.
"Nick, where is Mikey?" Brian asked.
"He was in Santa Barbara for the weekend. He's going home this morning."
Brian dialed again but there was still no answer. He tried a third time with the same result, after which he put the phone down on the seat and stared out the window.
"What's wrong, Brian?" Nick asked, sobbing. "Brian?"
"There's no answer on Mikey's phone," Brian said quietly.
"He told me last night that he was going to talk to his parents after we finished talking. Oh, my God. Mikey... NO!!!" Nick sobbed as he curled up in the corner of the limo and cried.
Brian did his best to comfort Nick during the trip to the airport. Nick was completely withdrawn and did nothing but cry. Kevin spent most of the trip on the phone with their management staff. Listening to Kevin's side of the conversation, Brian could tell that management was very unhappy with what had happened at the interview. He assumed that they were really pissed about being taken by surprise at Nick's professing his love for Mikey.
As Brian continued to listen, he realized that Kevin had changed the focus of the conversation and was trying to get someone to pull some strings and find out what had happened at the Alto Compound. Finally, Kevin ended the call.
"Were you able to find out anything?" Brian asked.
"No, but they are going to try to find out some information and call me back," Kevin replied. "Nick sure is a wreck, Bri. What are we going to do?"
"He is almost catatonic. I don't see how he'll be able to do the show tonight."
"No shit! We have to find out what's happened out there. We can't let him try to go out there by himself the way he is right now."
"We next to postpone the Atlanta shows, Kevin," AJ said.
"That's going to go over really well, especially with the bomb Nick dropped at MTV this morning. You do realize that it won't be kept a secret."
"It doesn't matter, Kev," Brian said, "Nick can't perform in this condition. If something has happened to Mikey, Nick probably won't be in shape to perform for quite a while. I think we need to take him out to California."
Kevin thought for a few seconds, "Management is going to really be pissed if we tell them to postpone the Atlanta concerts."
"Who gives a rat's ass, Kev?" AJ said. "What's more important... what management wants or what Nicky needs?"
"Nick comes first," Brian said.
"No doubt in my mind," Howie said.
"Ok, but why I am I always the one that has to tell them?" Kevin complained.
"Because you're our dad," AJ replied.
"Fuck you guys," Kevin said with a slight smile.
A short time later the limo arrived at the terminal and Brian and Kevin essentially dragged Nick out of the car and up the steps into the plane. After they had settled him into a seat, Kevin went up to talk to the pilot, explaining that they needed to fly to Santa Barbara, not back to Atlanta.
Needless to say, the pilot wasn't too happy about the situation and refused to change the flight plan. Kevin returned to the passenger cabin, pulled out his phone and called their managers. After learning that no one had been able to get any additional information, he told them that the Atlanta concerts needed to be postponed until Nick was recovered and that the entire group needed to fly to Santa Barbara immediately.
Kevin's demands weren't well received, but he finally was able to convince them that since Nick couldn't be left alone in his current state, it was impossible to perform. They finally accepted Kevin's reasoning and agreed to the changes in plans.
After hanging up, Kevin told Brian, AJ and Howie the short version of the conversation. A few minutes later the pilot came back into the cabin and told them that he had received instructions to file a new flight plan to Santa Barbara.
A fuel truck pulled up several minutes later to top up the plane's tanks for the cross country flight. About 20 minutes later they began taxiing towards the runway and were airborne about 15 minutes afterwards.
Brian sat next to Nick and held him. They were an hour or more into the flight when Nick finally said something, "Brian, if something has happened to him, I don't know what I'm going to do."
"Hey, it's way too soon to be worrying about that, Nick. We're on our way out there so we can find out first hand what's going on."
"Could you try calling Mikey again, Bri? If there's still no answer, I also have his office number."
Brian took Nick's cell phone over to the AirFone and tried calling Mikey's cell. There was no answer, so he tried the office number. It was answered promptly by a receptionist.
"Hi, I'm trying to reach Mikey Alto," Brian said.
"I'm sorry, he isn't available right now. Would you like to leave a message?"
"This is Brian Littrell and it is urgent that we get hold of him. We know about what has happened at his parent's home and haven't been able to reach him on his cell phone. We know he was in Santa Barbara over the weekend. Has anyone been in contact with him? It's really important that we find out if he is ok."
"I'm sorry, but we aren't able to give out any information. If you would like I can take down your phone number and have someone get back with you later."
"You don't understand, this is extremely urgent. When we heard what happened, we got on a plane and are headed out there to be with him. Do you know where we can contact him? Please help us!"
"I'm sorry, sir."
"Wait!!! Can you put me in touch with Mikey's attorney, Jeff? We don't have his phone number with us. This really is urgent!"
"Just a minute, sir."
"What's going on, Bri?" Nick asked.
"Some secretary is giving me a real run around. Hopefully she will give me Jeff's phone number and he'll remember who I am."
"Hello, this is Jeff."
"Jeff? Wow, I didn't expect you to pick up the phone. This is Brian Littrell of The Backstreet Boys. We spoke to you from Mikey's parent's house several weeks ago."
"Hi Brian, I'm here in Mikey's office trying to take care of some things. Is there something I can help you with?"
"Do you know anything about what happened at his parents and where he is. I've been trying to call him for a couple of hours and get no answer."
"Unfortunately, Brian, I don't have much information. I'm waiting to hear back from my father about what happened in Montecito and I haven't heard from Mikey."
"Nick spoke with Mikey several times over the weekend when he was on his boat up in Santa Barbara. Last night Mikey told him that he was going to call his parents. That's the last time Nick heard from him. We're really worried."
"Mikey was in Santa Barbara? Shit, I didn't know that. I haven't spoken with him since last Friday, but he didn't mention anything about going up there."
"Nick said that Mikey didn't decide to go until Saturday morning," Brian said.
"So I guess it's true about Mikey and Nick, huh?" Jeff asked.
"Didn't Mikey tell you? After all, you are his attorney and friend," Brian replied.
"No, he said there were some things he wasn't ready to talk about yet, so I didn't push."
"Yeah, they are a couple. They weren't when those photos were taken, but they are now."
"Jeez, Nick must be worried sick!"
"That is a major understatement," Brian said.
"So you guys are flying to Santa Barbara? I guess maybe I should meet you up there. Where are you staying tonight?"
"We haven't worried about that yet," Brian said.
"I'll take care of hotels. Hopefully something will be available. If not, we'll impose on my parents. Write down my cell number and call me when you land."
After hanging up the phone Brian went back to Nick and told him everything Jeff had said. Hearing what had transpired didn't exactly improve Nick's state of mind.
Jeff went out to his car and, on the way home to pack some clothes, called his father. His father still didn't have a lot of details, but knew that at least ten people were dead and a number of people were seriously injured. Even though he was the family lawyer, the police had yet to disclose the identities of the victims.
Jeff told his father that Mikey had been in Santa Barbara over the weekend and was now missing. He also said that he was going to be leaving for Santa Barbara in a few minutes and might need a place to stay for himself and the five members of The Backstreet Boys. His father said he would have his secretary try to arrange for rooms at either the Montecito Inn or The Biltmore.
Jeff ran inside his house, packed a few clothes in a bag and went back to his car for a speed run to Santa Barbara.
The jet touched down at Santa Barbara Municipal Airport at 2:40 P.M. It was met by a limo that took the guys to the Montecito Inn. After checking in, they went up to their suites and Brian called Jeff. He explained that the latest information he had obtained was that ten people had been killed and others were wounded.
Upon hearing this information, Nick became even more withdrawn and did nothing but sit in a chair and stare out the window at the mountains. Jeff told Brian that he would stop by the hotel in a half hour and update them on the latest facts.
A few minutes later Nick's phone, which was still in Brian's pocket, started ringing. Brian opened it and answered since Nick was in no shape to talk to anyone, "Hello, Nick's phone."
"Uh, Brian? What are you doing answering Nick's phone?"
"Who is this?" Brian asked hesitantly.
"It's Mikey. Where's Nick?"
"Where the fuck have you been? We've been worried sick. Nick is on the verge of a nervous breakdown!"
"Excuse me? I've been on my boat. Nick knew that. What's your problem and why can't I talk to Nick?"
"Mikey, how come you haven't been answering your phone?" Brian asked.
"It's at the bottom of the Santa Barbara harbor. What's the big deal? As soon as I got to Newport Beach I found a pay phone and called to talk to Nick and see how the interview went."
Suddenly, the phone was grabbed out of Brian's hand. Nick put the phone to his ear and heard the end of Mikey's sentence. After a few seconds of silence, he spoke as he sobbed, "Mikey, where are you?"
"At the yacht club in Newport. Nick you sound terrible. Was the interview that bad?"
"It's not because of the interview, Mikey. You don't know what's happened, do you?"
"What are you talking about Nick? You're really scaring me."
"Mikey, you need to get to Montecito right away. Something terrible has happened at your parent's house. People are dead, I thought you were dead. Oh God, Mikey, I'm so sorry..."
"Nick, what's going on? Where are you? Nicky?"
Nick was in a state of semi-shock and just let the phone drop to the floor. Brian picked it up and began talking again, "Mikey, did you hear what Nick said?"
"Yes, but it can't be true. There's no reason why something like that would happen. It must be some kind of mistake. Someone else's house."
"Mikey, we're in Montecito. Jeff is on his way over here with more information. All we know at this point is there are several people dead and a lot more injured. Mikey, you need to get up here right now."
"Ok, where are you?"
"The Montecito Inn."
I sank to the ground and leaned against the phone booth. Gracie sensed my sadness and snuggled up next to me. I don't know how long I sat there. The next thing I remember was this older man asking me if I needed help. I sat there and looked at him for a minute or two before he finally registered in my mind. I told him I needed to get a cab to the airport.
He helped me up off the ground and led me over to a new Yukon. "I'm heading that direction, I'll give you a ride. Are you meeting someone?"
"No," I replied, "I have to go to Montecito right away."
We made it to the airport in about ten minutes. I realized he was going up to the regular passenger terminal. "I'm sorry to do this to you, but I need to get to the Jet Center, not the airport terminal. Follow this around and then turn to the right."
"Sorry, I think I know where you mean."
He dropped me off and I went inside with Gracie at my side. I arranged for a helicopter charter and went over next to the doors to the flight line to wait for my ride. Within a few minutes a Hughes 500 landed and I led Gracie out to it and climbed aboard. We took off quickly and headed towards Montecito.
We made it to Montecito in just over an hour. I directed the pilot to the helicopter pad at my parent's estate. Almost as soon as we landed, police cars pulled up and a number of people got out. I was confronted as soon as I exited the helicopter.
"What do you think you are doing landing here? This is a crime scene!" a man in a blue blazer said to me.
"I'm Michael Alto, Jr. As soon as I heard something happened I flew in. Are you in charge?"
"Yes, I'm Detective Joe Davidson. I'm sorry, but you can't stay here. We need to talk to you but not here."
"I need to know how my parents are. What happened?"
"Let's go to the police department where we can talk. I'll tell you everything we know."
"I have some friends who have checked in at the Montecito Inn. Can we go there instead?"
"I think we should go to the police department, Mr. Alto."
"I'd feel more comfortable with my friends around, if it's not a major problem."
"Ok, the Montecito Inn it is," he said as he led me to his car. When we got in the car I asked if I could borrow his phone. I called Nick and told him I was on my way with a Detective and found out what room he was in.
We got to the hotel and Detective Davidson followed me up to Nick's suite. I knocked on the door and he opened it. I looked at his beautiful, but sad, face and saw that his eyes were red from crying and we pulled each other into a hug. I could tell Nick had started crying again as he held me tightly.
"Mikey," he sobbed, "I was so afraid I had lost you. I couldn't imagine how I could have gone on living." Then he pulled back slightly and kissed me deeply. "I love you so much, Mikey," he said as he ended the kiss, "but don't you ever scare me like that again."
"Um, Nicky, we aren't here by ourselves. There's a policeman watching us."
"I don't think you need to worry about that any longer," Kevin said from inside the suite."
"What do you mean?" I asked.
"Nick sort of came out this morning at MTV," Kevin replied.
I pulled Nick into another hug that I never wanted to have end.
"Well, this isn't exactly going to make my 13 year old daughter very happy," Detective Davidson said.
Nick and I ended the hug but continued to hold each other's hand. "Sorry, about that. We haven't seen each other in a while and the past few hours have been pretty intense," Nick said. "I'm Nick Carter, but I guess you already figured that out. Please come in and sit down."
Nick and I sat down side by side on a couch, while Kevin and the Detective Davidson took a couple of chairs. Brian came in from his bedroom and sat down next to Nick and I.
"Detective, you still haven't answered my questions. Where are my parents? How are they? What the Hell happened?"
"I'll answer your questions, son, but first I need to know where you have been all day."
"Wait a minute," Kevin said angrily, "Surely you don't think Mikey is a suspect. I don't know if he should answer any questions without his attorney present."
"Kevin, it's ok," I said, "I don't have anything to hide. If that's what it takes for me to get answers, I'll tell him."
Nick put his arm around me and squeezed my shoulder, "It's going to be ok, Mikey."
"Mikey, I really think you should wait until Jeff is here," Kevin said.
"I can't wait, Kevin," I said and then turned to Detective Davidson. "I spent the weekend on my boat in the Santa Barbara harbor. I cruised up on Saturday and originally planned to just spend the night, but I ended up staying last night also. I left this morning to go back to Newport Beach after walking my dog. It was probably around 7:30, but I didn't pay any attention to the time. As soon as I docked in Newport I went to a pay phone and called Nick and that's when I found out what had happened. I chartered the helicopter and flew up here as soon as I got off the phone with him."
"When was the last time you talked to your parents?"
"Last night. I called them after I got off the phone with Nick. They wanted me to come over but I decided to stay on my boat and relax. I told them I was going to come up for the weekend in a couple of weeks."
"Do you know who might want to hurt them?"
"Not specifically, but we were being threatened because of my grandfather who was staying with my parents. I have no idea who was involved though."
"I guess that covers what I need to know right now."
"So, is Mikey a suspect?" Kevin asked.
"No, although we always check out family members," the detective replied.
"Ok, my turn asking questions," I said. "What about my parents?"
"Mr. Alto, your mother is in surgery at St. Francis Hospital. She was critically wounded and lost a great deal of blood."
Thank God Nick was there to hold me because I guess I went into shock as soon as I heard what the detective said. I didn't start crying right away, I just sat their totally oblivious to everything around me. Nick must have pulled me close to him because when I started to become aware of my surrounding, my face was buried in his neck and I was crying. Actually, we were both crying, out tears mixed together, soaking his shirt.
I vaguely remember hearing Kevin and Brian asking about the rest of the household. My father and grandfather were both dead, along with several people from the household staff. Detective Davidson explained that the attack began around 7 a.m. when several cars stormed the estate's front gate. Frank was killed on the way in. When the cars arrived at the house, the guards attempted to hold them off but were overwhelmed. Anthony and the three other guards were all killed. Two of the attackers were killed in the driveway. The rest forced their way into the house killing Sara in the process. Then they apparently went upstairs where they killed my grandfather and my father, who died trying to protect my mother. Several other members of the staff were injured, some seriously. All the injured had been taken to the St. Francis Hospital.
I was in total despair. My life had just been starting to come back together after Angela's death and now this.
"Son, I know this has got to be very difficult, but would you look at a couple of pictures and tell me if you recognize either one of the people?"
"Are you out of your fucking mind? Can't you see he is devastated?" Nick said angrily.
"Wait Nick, it's ok. The sooner they figure out who did it, the better chance they have to catch them," I said softly, sitting up slowly.
Detective Davidson handed me a picture of a man laying on the ground. His face was covered with blood, but his features were clearly visible. I shook my head, "I've never seen this guy before."
He handed me another photograph and I sat there staring at it...
"That's the son of a bitch who you got in a fight with the weekend your father had us..."
"Nick, I know who it is. His name is Mark, Mark de la Torre. He used to be an employee of my father. He was fired after he beat the crap out of me. He had a problem with my being gay."
"Do you know who he might have gone to work for?"
"No, but I think he would have done anything he could to hurt me. He probably is the person who took the pictures."
"What pictures?" the detective asked.
"Someone, possibly Mark, took pictures of Nick and I and threatened to make them public if my grandfather didn't leave the country. He refused and they eventually carried through with their threat. They appeared in the National Enquirer last Friday."
"We were at MTV doing an interview about the pictures when the news hit about Mikey's parents," Kevin said. "We immediately flew to Santa Barbara."
"I'm really sorry about your family, son. You're lucky to have friends like these guys seem to be."
"Thanks. If it's okay, I'd like to go to the hospital now," I said.
"Sure. If I have any more questions, where can I reach you?"
"I lost my cell phone in the harbor last night and haven't gotten another one. Uh, I guess leave a message here for me."
"No, let me give you my cell number," Nick said. "Just don't give it to your daughter."
"Don't have to worry about that. Again, son, I'm really sorry."
Nick and I went into the bedroom and lay down on the bed and held each other while we waited for Kevin to arrange for a car. I continued to weep a little, but I was pretty much cried out at that point. It was so comforting to have Nick holding me.
"So you came out in the interview?"
"Well, sort of."
"Kevin, at least I think it was him, noticed a news clip on a monitor showing your parents house and something about the attack. He told Brian to get me out of the interview. Then I saw the monitor and just froze. I didn't know what was going on, but I was scared. Then that asshole Carson Daly said something mean about you and you family..."
"And I guess I said something about how I love you."
"Wow, I'll bet that left everyone speechless."
"Actually, no. It got sort of crazy. I guess AJ threatened to kick Carson's ass and our management people jumped in really quickly trying to do damage control, as usual."
"I wonder if the word is on the street yet?"
"I don't know, but I don't care anyway. I'm through hiding how I feel, Mikey."
There was a knock at the door and Kevin poked his head in and told us the car was waiting out front.
Nick and I went down to the lobby along with Kevin and Brian and got in the car. We didn't talk much during the trip to the hospital. We were shown to a private waiting room near the intensive care unit. Jason and Jennifer were both there, along with Jeff's mother and father.
"Hey, kid," Jason said when he saw me.
Jen came rushing over to Nick and me and put her arms around us. Then Jason gave me a hug. "How is she doing?" I asked.
"We don't know much yet," Jason said. "The doctor said her condition is extremely critical. He'll be out to see us after the surgery is completed."
Mr. and Mrs. Adams had walked over and waited until Jason stepped back before saying anything. "Michael, it's good to see you after so long. We're so sorry about your parents. If there is anything we can do, just ask."
"Thanks. Have you heard from Jeff? Kevin said he was driving up this morning."
"I talked to him a while ago. He is still out at your parent's house with the police. He said he would stop by your hotel this evening to see you. So I guess this handsome young man with you is the boyfriend your mother told us about."
Nick blushed and smiled meekly.
"Yes," I said, "I'd like you to meet Nick. Nick these are Jeff's parents."
"Hi Mr. and Mrs. Adams."
"And this is Kevin and that is Brian," I said as I finished all the introductions.
"Hello, boys," Mr. Adams said.
"Hi," Kevin and Brian said, almost in unison.
We all moved over to some chairs and sat down. We spoke quietly every once in a while, but mainly Nick and I just held on to each other. About an hour later a doctor entered the room. Everyone stood up as he approached where we had been sitting. He glanced down and Nick's and my intertwined hands, looked up and smiled.
"Hello, I'm Dr. Martin. And you all are?"
"I'm Jason. This is Mr. Adams, our parent's attorney, and his wife. That's my sister Jennifer and my brother Michael. And that's Nick, my brother's friend."
"Boyfriend, actually," Nick said hesitantly.
Jason and Jennifer had rather surprised looks on their faces, not expecting Nick to stay it in front of a stranger.
"We'll tell you later," I said to them. "And the other two are friends of mine, Brian and Kevin," I said.
"Doctor Martin, how is our mother?" Jason asked.
"She is in extremely critical condition. She was hit by four bullets. We have removed three of them. The fourth one is lodged next to her spine. We decided that it is too dangerous given her injuries to attempt to remove it at this time. She lost a great deal of blood. We have stopped the bleeding and we are just waiting to see if she will pull through. The next 48 hours are critical. If she survives we will decide later what to do about the remaining bullet."
"Can we see her?" Jason asked.
"No, not right now. Maybe in 24 hours, depending on how she is doing. I suggest you all go home. We'll call you if her condition changes."
"You want us to go home while she is in there on the verge of death?" I shouted angrily.
Nick put his arm around me and whispered in my ear, "Mikey, come on. I know you're worried, but there's nothing you can do but pray for her right now."
"Doctor, if there is any change at all, you have us called. I don't care what time it is. Understand?" Jason said.
"Yes, of course. Now please, try to get some rest. It's going to be a long couple of days."
Mr. Adams said that he was going to stay for a while to make sure all arrangements for our mother's care were taken care of. He said he would call us if he heard anything about her or there was any news about the attack.
Jason, Jennifer, Brian, Kevin, Nick and I went back out to the main waiting room and then headed out toward the cars.
"I'm going to find out who did this and there is going to be Hell to pay," Jason said angrily.
"Jason, no!!! That's not what mom and dad would want. Dad spent his entire life getting away from that mentality. Don't even think about doing anything. Just let the police handle it. Besides, they already know Mark de la Torre was involved. He was killed in the driveway and I identified his picture for this detective."
"That son of a bitch..."
"Jason, please. Mikey's right," Jennifer said.
"I know, but I don't like it."
"Just be cool, ok?" I said to him.
"So Mikey, do you want to stay at my house? Jen is going to stay with me."
"Thanks, Jason, but Nick and the guys are at the Montecito Inn. I really want to spend the night with Nick."
"Ok, but he's welcome at my place too."
"Thanks, J, maybe later."
Jason and Jennifer got in his car and the four of got back in the Town Car Kevin had hired.
"I guess we need to go get some clothes and stuff, huh?" I asked them.
"Yeah, we hadn't planned on coming out here so we don't have anything other than the clothes on our backs," Brian said.
"That seems to be getting to be a habit when you come out here," I said.
We made a quick stop at Nordstrom on our way back to Montecito. When we got back to the hotel, I was really exhausted and wanted to take a nap. We made plans to go out to dinner around 8:00 and then I guided Nick into his bedroom and shut the door."
Well, that's it for Part 23 of Nick and the Altos. I let you all off easy this time. Figured you needed a break after the last part's ending. Part 24 won't be up for a couple of weeks because I'm going to be out of town next weekend. Any comments, suggestions or whatever, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for reading... Mikey